By Niall Gartland
SUNDAY is the biggest day in the history of East Cavan Gaels as they gear up for their first ever appearance in the senior championship hurling final.
The club, which draws its catchment area from Bailieborough, Kingscourt, Shercock, Virginia, Mullagh, has been on the go for 14 years now and this is the first time they’ve reached the showpiece event in Cavan hurling.
They take on reigning champions Cootehill in the final and while it’s no easy task, they’ll take great confidence from their breakthrough semi-final win over Mullahoran, who have won six titles in the last decade alone.
Club chairman Willie Gaughan, a native of Ashbourne in Meath, commented: “This is our sixth year fielding an Adult side and our first time getting to the county final. We beat Mullahoran in the semi-final for the first time, they’d been champions for donkeys years before Cootehill came along so that was massive for us, and we’re very happy with it, but we’d like to take another step now we’re there!”
East Cavan Gaels can call upon a number of county players, like Jack and Tadhg Barry and Rory Farrell (all homegrown players) and Kilkenny natives Canice Maher and Nicky Kenny, who have both relocated to the area. They’re flying it at adult level but Gaughan is extremely proud of their progress at youth level even more so.
“We’re an independent hurling club and we pull from about nine football clubs. We have to do that in order to have the numbers but we have all the age groups from U-7 onwards. All the squads apart from U-17, which is a bit of a hole for us, have strong numbers and reaching the final is a great boost for us. The county did well earlier in the year too, we’d five lads on the team that won Division 3B and that was great for us, that it shows the lads that the standard is getting better and that it’s not inevitable that we’re just going to get hammerings.”